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Saudi Arabia severs ties with Qatar; oil price jumps

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Saudi Arabia severs ties with Qatar; oil price jumps

Four Arab countries including Saudi Arabia severed ties with Qatar on June 5, alleging ties to terrorism, sending the oil price higher, multiple media channels reported.

The Saudi Press Agency said it was cutting relations and closing land, sea and air ports with Qatar to protect "its national security from the dangers of terrorism and extremism" and urged "friendly countries and international companies to implement the same procedure as soon as possible," CNN said. Saudi Arabia also blocked Qatar's media. Saudi Arabia's fellow Gulf Cooperation Council members Bahrain and United Arab Emirates, together with Egypt, also cut off relations.

The moves came after the state-owned Qatar News Agency on May 24 quoted the emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, as saying "There is no wisdom in harboring hostility towards Iran," CNN said. The report was later deleted, and the Qatari foreign affairs ministry released a statement saying the news agency's website had been hacked.

Oil prices climbed, with Brent crude jumping more than 1% to $50.74 a barrel before easing to $50.12, up 0.34% on Friday's close, by 4:16 a.m. ET. Qatar's stock market fell 7.5%.

Qatar's foreign ministry said the measures by the Arab nations were "unjustified and are based on claims and allegations that have no basis in fact," Qatar-based Al Jazeera reported.

Bahrain's foreign ministry said it was suspending diplomatic relations "to preserve its national security" and gave Qatari diplomats 48 hours to leave the kingdom. It said air and sea traffic between the two countries would cease within 24 hours, CNN reported.

Egypt reportedly said on its state-run agency that Qatari policy "threatens Arab national security and sows the seeds of strife and division within Arab societies according to a deliberate plan aimed at the unity and interests of the Arab nation," according to Reuters.